Struggling Flybe, which has been up for sale amid falling share prices since October last year has been rescued in a new deal.
A consortium comprising Virgin Atlantic Group and Stobart Group is buying the airline for £2.2m – significantly less than its current value, but presumably reflecting the amount to be invested to keep the carrier flying.
The new consortium is known as Connect Airways, but it is uncertain at this point whether Flybe will be rebranded or not.
The airline is currently one of the largest regional carriers in Europe, operating a fleet of Bombardier Q400s, Embraer 175s and 195s from bases across the UK.
The resulting airline will be operated by Virgin Atlantic, with assets of Stobart Air also being used. It is thought that this will lead to Flybe becoming a feeder carrier for Virgin Atlantic and its partners Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM – valuable for the long-haul operations at London Heathrow and Manchester airports.
Virgin Atlantic chief Shai Weiss said: “Together, we can provide excellent connectivity to our extensive long haul network and that of our joint venture partner, Delta Air Lines, at London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport for the benefit of our customers.
“In the near future, this will only increase, through our expanded joint venture partnership with Air France-KLM.”